Wednesday September 03, 2014

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Shelter numbers remain steady

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The Warm Welcome shelter in Estevan has been attracting about five or six users a night, according to Estevan Salvation Army Lieutenant Brian Bobolo.

"The program is very well-attended, and it has proven to be a real success this year," said Bobolo.

There is a sense of community at Warm Welcome, he said. Guests who have been to the shelter have offered a lot of positive feedback.

As many as seven guests have stayed at the shelter in one night, he said. And they have had six several other occasions.

"About 25 different individuals have stayed with the program this year, so we're quite pleased to have played an important role in the lives of so many people," said Bobolo. "We really enjoy serving our community well, and I think we're doing that this year."

The number of shelter users didn't dip in mid-January, either, when the temperatures warmed up for a couple of weeks.

Bobolo said the growing number of users can be attributed to awareness of the program, and the experience of the shelter's clients. People trust the program, and accept it as an important part of the community.

"When new people come into town, they know exactly where to turn to when they need shelter," said Bobolo.

Warm Welcome is slated to remain open until March 31. But Bobolo said the shelter's board will meet soon to decide whether to extend the season into April.

Any decision that they make would be dependent on demand, costs, volunteer numbers, weather conditions and their capacity to operate after March 31.

"If it's really bad weather, we will be looking to perhaps extend the program," said Bobolo.

Bobolo said any extension would likely last for a brief amount of time, due to the costs associated with operating the shelter.

"We'd love to run the program well into the spring," he said.

Volunteer numbers are up from last year, but they still need assistance, particularly during the overnight shifts in the middle of the week. Helping out is an enjoyable experience, he said.

The shelter is located at the Estevan Salvation Army's building from Sunday to Tuesday. It is at St. Paul's United Church in Estevan from Wednesday to Saturday.


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